Motherhood is a big task and usually comes with no advance training.
Here are a few tips that new mothers wish they had known before bringing their baby home.
Breast feeding can be painful and very time consuming. I don’t regret doing it as I felt it was for my baby’s health and I’d do it again. But it was harder getting adjusted than I thought. Don’t be afraid to ask for an advocate if you need one. I wouldn’t have made it without mine.
I understand now what the old saying about “the days are long but the years are short” means. Some days when my baby was fussing and I didn’t know what to do, seemed to drag on forever. Now she’s two years old and I don’t know where the time went. Treasure the moments as much as possible, even the stressful ones.
You don’t need every baby product available. We ended up with way too much stuff. Many things were only usable when the baby was under six months old. That time flew by and now we’re trying to decide which items to keep for the next baby and which to give away. We should have waited and found out what we really needed.
Don’t stress over getting back to your pre-birth weight. And when you do, realize that your stomach will still look different than it did before pregnancy.
Drink lots of water and try to eat healthy when it’s possible. When you cook, try to make extra, and freeze for the times you don’t have the energy to cook. Pop something in the slow cooker before you’re too exhausted to think about dinner.
When friends and relatives offer to help, let them. Give them a grocery list or let them bring you dinner. But don’t feel it’s necessary to allow unwanted company. Simply tell them you are too tired for visitors right now.
Sleep whenever you can and let the other stuff go. Everyone said this, but I didn’t listen until I almost fell over with exhaustion. Then I put my husband on laundry duty and stopped worrying about everything else.
Babies fuss for no reason. Sometimes you change them, feed them, burp them, rock them, sing to them, dance for them, hang the moon and stars, and they still cry. You have to realize they are just letting off extra energy. When you are on your last nerve, place the baby in a safe place such as a crib or strapped in their baby swing, and walk away until you’re calmer. When you get upset they sense it and it becomes a vicious cycle. Take a short break.
You’ll often have to ignore other people’s advice. Though they mean well, they’ll send you into an endless tailspin. All babies are different. What might have worked great for someone else may be totally wrong for you and your baby.
The only ‘perfect’ parents are the people who have not yet had children. Listen to your heart.
Don’t give in to the mommy wars. Some use a bottle, others a breast, some go back to a job, some stay home and work. Don’t feel guilty about your choices. Do what is best for you and your family; don’t criticize mothers who make different choices.
It’s normal to feel a little sadness along with all the joy. Your body has been through a traumatic experience. However, if you start to have trouble doing everyday tasks then you might be suffering from postpartum depression. Talk to your doctor. If you ever feel you might harm yourself or your baby get help immediately, even if you need to call 911.
Resist the urge to compare your baby to others, even to siblings. Each baby develops at their own speed. If you have concerns talk to your doctor.
Don’t feel guilty for needing a little me time. Have a friend come over and watch the baby while you soak in a hot tub or take a long shower. Run to the store or get a massage.
Of all the things new parents say they weren’t expecting, this is number one. They never knew they could feel so much love for anyone. Though you’ve dreamed and hoped and planned for a baby, there is still nothing that compares to actually holding your baby in your arms. Enjoy the moment.